Subject: UNMISET Daily Media Review 1 February 2005

UNMISET Daily Press Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Daily Media Review Tuesday, 1 February 2005

Anti-Howard ads cost Timor campaigners support

An advertising campaign accusing the Australian Prime Minister of stealing billions of dollars in oil and gas revenues from Timor-Leste has been branded “deceptive and misleading” by the Government. The advertisements, paid for by businessman Ian Melrose, is a campaign designed to embarrass Prime Minister John Howard over Australia’s claim on the fields. The ads also accuse the Federal Government of stealing AUS$2-billion in revenue from the Timorese.

However, Mr Melrose’s ads have cost him the support of a coalition of groups that share his aims, if not his methods. Oxfam, World Vision and the United Church of Australia have distanced themselves from them. “It’s a matter of employing different methods of trying to achieve a just outcome for the Timorese,” said Oxfam’s Advocacy Manager, Marc Purcell. “It’s unhelpful to be associated with a campaign targeting the Prime Minister,” he added.

Earlier, Mr Melrose and the Timor Sea Justice Campaign, which has aligned itself with the businessman, claimed the groups were part of a “coalition” that supported his pledge to ambush Mr Howard at public events. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Domestic criticism of Xanana’s decision to normalize Indonesian ties

President Xanana Gusmão has dismissed domestic criticism over Dili’s efforts to normalize ties with Jakarta. President Gusmão said Timor-Leste will press forward with plans to establish a bilateral truth commission to deal with Indonesian atrocities committed in 1999. Speaking upon his return from an official trip to Indonesia, he underlines that he and the government were “legitimate” elected representatives of the people in contrast to non-governmental organizations, which have attacked Dili’s soft stance towards Jakarta.

The President announced that his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, would visit Dili soon for further talks and to sign bilateral accords, including one on land borders and another establishing a ‘Truth and Friendship Commission’.

Those critical of the Government of Timor-Leste’s stance have demanded that the United Nations set up an international tribunal to bring to trial those responsible for committing atrocities in 1999. Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos-Horta, is expected to travel to Indonesia next week to continue discussions on the composition of the proposed commission. President Gusmão said he and Ramos-Horta discussed the issue “frankly and clearly”, telling the Indonesians the commission, which has yet to get approval from the UN, “must be credible in the eyes of the international community”. Dili’s representation on the future body would be composed of “people of integrity” and would not include members of government and the presidential office, said the President. (Lusa)

Australian authorities to monitor dengue outbreak in Timor

Australian health authorities are closely monitoring an outbreak of dengue fever in Timor-Leste, which has killed at least 10 people in the past month. Another 80 people, most of them in the capital Dili, have been seriously ill with a form of the disease, which causes internal bleeding. Australian peacekeepers have joined efforts to eradicate problem mosquitos from slum areas in the capital.

Northern Territory entomologist, Peter Whelan, said already one case of the mosquito has been found on Melville Island, on a cargo vessel from Dili. “These sort of things can easily travel, particularly from near neighbours, but even from more distant neighbours to the Northern Territory into our ports, so we’re always concerned and we’re always vigilant to make sure that we keep the Northern Territory disease free from the dengue mosquitos,” he said.

Timor-Leste’s Health Minister, Rui de Araujo, said the wet season rains mean the death toll is certain to rise. “We will expect more cases coming up in at least up until mid-February,” he said. According to the Health Minister, a similar outbreak is occurring in Indonesia. (ABC)

Portugal to advise Xanana on new defence body

A senior Portuguese navy officer will advise President Xanana Gusmão on the establishment of a military support service for Timor-Leste’s head of state. State Secretary for Defence, Jorge Neto, who is in Dili for a three-day visit, announced that Commander Mario Chagas would arrive by March to advise the President on the creation of the “Military House”. (Lusa)

US sells Indonesia C-130 parts

The United States has sold Indonesia parts for five C-130 cargo planes, temporarily ending a five-year ban on the sale of arms to Jakarta. The sale, discussed by former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, during his visit to Indonesia last month, has been completed, said State Department spokesman Richard Boucher. The sale of US arms-related equipment to Indonesia was banned in 1999 following allegations the Indonesian military and pro-Indonesian militia committed human rights violations in Timor-Leste.

Whilst in Jakarta last week, Timor-Leste’s President vowed his government would lobby the US Congress to lift its embargo on military cooperation and the sale of arms to Indonesia. (UPI)

Access to Water for Only 21% of Dili

At the end of January 2005, only 21 per cent of Dili residents had access to water from the Water Service. The remaining 79 per cent have not had water facilities installed because of a lack of government funds. Elias P.M., head of the Clean Water Division of the Water Service, said that several areas in the four sub-districts of Dili have long been complaining that they do not have access to water. He said that if there were any non-governmental organizations that would be willing to help with this problem, then the installation of water facilities could be expedited. (STL)

Longinhos Monteiro: Announcement of the Investigation on Prosecutor Postponed

The Prosecutor General, Longuinhos Monteiro, announced that he has received the report on the investigation of the bribe case involving the Dili District Prosecutor with the initials EG. Monteiro also confirmed that the investigation report would be made public after it becomes available to the Prime Minister, the President and the President of the National Parliament. (Timor Post)

Lere Anan Timor: “Today Is a Reflection Day for F-FDTL”

Timor-Leste’s defence force, F-FDTL, has marked its 4th anniversary. Chief of Staff of F-FDTL, Colonel Lere Anan Timor, said that today is a day of reflection for the defence institution to look back on what it has done over the last four years for the nation.

Anan Timor believes much progress has been made by F-FDTL since its establishment, due mainly to the support provided by development partners and other international advisers. However, Anan Timor did acknowledge that there remain problems related to the management and administration of capacity building for F-FDTL. “F-FDTL should make an effort to better its planning for its activities in the short, medium and long term. We admit that we are weak in the area of planning, but will do our best in dealing with it,” he said. (STL)

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